British Skydiving’s Safety and Training Officer, Jeff Montgomery, is chairing a new Working Group to review the return to skydiving protocols for when skydiving can resume after the covid-19 lockdown. The Working Group has been formed to assist Affiliated Parachute Training organisations (PTOs) to facilitate a gradual return to Skydiving Operations in a safe and controlled manner and includes members from British Skydiving as well as representatives from several PTOs along with several co-opted members whose expertise are in the fields of aviation, medicine and sanitation.
The RTSWG is comprised of:
|Jeff Montgomery||British Skydiving Safety & Technical Officer, Chair of Safety & Training Committee (STC)|
|Dr John Carter||British Skydiving Medical Adviser|
|Pete Sizer (Skydive Headcorn)||Chair of Riggers’ Committee, PTO Chief Instructor, Instructor Examiner, Tandem Instructor, AFF Instructor & Rigger Examiner|
|Richard Wheatley (Skydive Langar)||PTO Chief Instructor, AFF Instructor & Parachute Rigger|
|Alex Busby-Hicks (Skydive Tilstock)||PTO Chief Instructor, Instructor Examiner, Tandem Instructor|
|Gordon Blamire (Go Skydive)||Drop Zone Owner, Pilot|
|Noel Purcell (Skydive Hibaldstow)||PTO Chief Instructor, Instructor Examiner, Tandem Instructor, AFF Instructor & Rigger Examiner|
|Mark Bayada (Army Parachute Association)||British Skydiving Council member, PTO Chief Pilot, Instructor Examiner|
|Jack Davies||Council member, Formation Skydiving Coach|
|Professor Anu Ojha OBE||Director of the National Space Centre, President of FAI Astronautics Records Commission|
|Dr Anna Hicks||British Army Doctor, AFF Instructor, FS Coach|
|Dr Simon Guest OBE||British Army Doctor, AFF Instructor, Tandem Instructor, FS Coach|
|Tony Knight||Aviation Advisor, Member of the GA COVID-19 Recovery Workshop|
|Jake John||British Skydiving Member, Specialist Sanitation Services|
The group have highlighted 3 main areas for considerations with the intention of minimizing the risk of disease transmission during skydiving Operations. The areas of considerations are:
- Considerations for PTOs & Skydivers
- Areas of Operation. Staged approach for a gradual return to Operations.
- Publication of Guidance.
The RTSWG have formed 3 Sub-Groups to look at the 3 main areas, with each group reporting into working group via regular virtual meetings. The 3 Sub-Groups and members are:
- DZ entry: Dr John Carter (Sub-Group Co-ordinator), Jack Davies, Jake John & Richard Wheatley
- Ground protocols: Dr Anna Hicks, Noel Purcell (Sub-Group Co-ordinator), Anu Ojha, Pete Sizer, Alex Busby-Hicks
- In-air protocols: Mark Bayada (Sub-Group Co-ordinator), Dr Simon Guest, Tony Knight, Gordon Blamire
The Working Group is working hard to ensure that their guidance is published as soon as possible. The group will be cognisant of any variations in regulations and advice and to any differences in implementation dates by the governments of the four home nations. As the sport’s governing body, we must be also aware of our social responsibility and the impact that skydiving activities may have on our members, PTOs and the wider community. In particular, we are mindful of the risk of generating extra medical demands on our NHS whilst it is still working to get back to normal after the Covid pandemic, whilst being on standby for a second wave that we all hope will never happen.